• Published 18th Jan 2019
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Before the Friendship Games: Dean Cadance - CapNTilfy



Dean Cadance is hiding something. Something that very few people know. Book Seven of The Crystal Prep Chronicles: Before the Friendship Games.

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Ladies' Night

Cadance parked her car and exited. Turning around, she smiled at the sight of her favorite restaurant, Roma's. So many memories were had there, both good and bad. It was her go-to place when she hung out with her friends. As she walked towards the entrance, she scanned the parking lot. No sign of either Luna's or Hope's car. With an inward shrug, she walked on in.

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Luna, Celestia, Hope and Cadance met up at the entrance of Roma's. It was a fairly new restaurant, offering a variety of foods.

"Here?" Celestia folded her arms and raised an eyebrow in skepticism.

"Come on, 'Tia. Give it a chance!" Luna looked inside excitedly.

Celestia glanced, then shrugged and looked at Hope and Cadance.

"Yeah, what Luna said," Cadance said. "You know the saying: 'Nothing ventured, nothing gained.'"

"Well all right then," Celestia conceded, then the four friends went inside.

The lobby contained a cigarette machine and several blue and yellow booths. The floor was lined with black and white tiles, and the blue walls were filled with posters of classic movies and rock concerts. Scents of various foods and cigarette smoke wafted in the air as a variety of music played throughout the restaurant, mingling with the clattering of plates and many conversations between patrons.

"This place seems cozy," Hope said as she took a deep whiff of the air, then turned her head slightly. "Could do without the smoke, though."

"You know there's a non-smoking section, right," Cadance asked as she rolled her eyes.

"I'm just saying, is all."

"Let's find some seats!" Luna ran over to the lobby.

Cadance and Hope exchanged glances, then smirked. "Is she always like that," Cadance asked as she watched Luna sit down at a booth.

"Not always," replied Celestia. "She has her calmer moments, but I do understand her excitement." She smiled. "Luna likes meeting new people and making friends."

The four sat down at a table. "Before we start off, There's something I want to you know."

Celestia quirked an eyebrow. "Yes?"

"I don't want you treating me any differently, promise?"

Celestia and Luna looked at each other, then back at Cadance. "Promise."

"Cadance is just a nickname. My real name is Mi Amore Cadenza, and I'm the daughter of Crystal Prep Academy's principal."

Celestia and Luna remained silent for a moment until Luna spoke up. "Nice."

Cadance smiled. "I think this just might be the beginning of a beautiful friendship."

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Cadance sat down at their usual booth. Few things had changed since her first time there with her friends. The cigarette machine was gone, and the booths were now black and white to match the tiled floor. There was no longer a smoking section, and a larger variety of music played throughout. She checked her phone and noticed no new messages. Sighing, she sent texts to her friends.

Are you guys close? - Cadance

Getting there. - Hope

You at our usual spot? - Luna

I am. - Cadance

She pocketed her phone, deciding not to wait for a response, then put her hands on her chin and people-watched to pass the time.

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"Well," Celestia said as they left the restaurant. "That was a lot more fun than I thought it would be!"

"What'd I tell you, Tia?" Luna grinned.

Celestia rolled her eyes. "All right, all right. You told me so."

"Think we should make this a regular hangout," Cadance asked as she stretched. She'd never had a hangout place before, and she'd always wanted one.

"I like the sound of that," Hope said.

"Works for me." Luna smiled.

"Guess it's settled, then."

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Cadance sighed as she continued her people-watching. Hope and Luna better get here soon, she'd start to feel weird just sitting at a table all by herself... especially since she's always been with her friends every time she visited! Suddenly, she heard footsteps rapidly approaching her. Looking up, she saw Luna and hugged her. "Ooh, it's so good to see you outside any formal capacity!" Cadance and Luna much preferred speaking casually as opposed to how their respective schools are running, anecdotes about administrative work, and so on.

Luna returned the hug gratefully with a smile. "Same. No planning of any sorts, just casual conversation... unless you want to get shitfaced tonight," she said with a wink.

Cadance barked a laugh as she broke the hug and sat back down with Luna. "Yeah, no. Much as I may want to whenever I get home from work."

Luna smirked. "I can only imagine. But enough talk about work."

"Yeah. Moving on!"

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Luna, Celestia and Hope ran down the halls in the hospital until they heard Cadance sobbing uncontrollably in a room. All they knew was that she was at the hospital, but not why she was there. The three women walked inside and let out a collective gasp. What they saw that day would remain etched in their minds for as long as they lived.

Cadance had her head in her hands, shaking with emotion as her elbows rested on the lap of a motionless Amore.

"Oh, god..." With a whisper, a tear rolled down Hope's cheek as the situation became clear immediately. "No."

Luna stood still in shock, mouth agape.

"I-Is... I-Is she..." Celestia hesitated to finish her sentence. Neither Celestia nor her sister knew Amore all too well, but they knew the impact this would have on Cadance.

Hope nodded and sniffled, then broke. She held onto Cadance tightly, joining her close friend in grief and anguish. None of the four women noticed the lanky man just standing outside the hospital room. He, too, was suffering greatly, but decided to leave Cadenza to grieve with her friends.

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"Any luck on the dating game?" Cadance grinned at Luna.

Luna shook her head. "Not for lack of trying, though." She sighed as she put a hand to her face. "You'd think that there'd statistically be at least one person who'd want to date me."

Cadance put a reassuring hand on Luna's shoulder. "Hey now..."

"The arrow of love will strike you someday, whether you want it to or not. It happens to just about everybody," Radiant Hope said as she approached the table.

Luna scoffed and rolled her eyes playfully. "Easy for you to say, Mrs. Happily-Married-with-Two-Children."

"Yeah... about that..." Hope took out her phone as she sat down, then put it on the table for Luna and Cadance to see. The two looked at the phone as their eyes widened in shock, then looked up at the guidance counselor. "It's three now." She blushed slightly.

Cadance and Luna continued to stare at the ultrasound picture, until the Vice-Principal gasped. "That's what you were doing this morning?!"

Hope nodded, still blushing.

Cadance snapped out of her shock and hugged Hope. "Oh my god, Hope! Congrats!" Realization suddenly hit her as her eyes widened. "That's the real reason you wanted us to hang out again, isn't it?"

Hope grinned as her blush faded, nodding.

"You sneaky little..." Luna laughed in delight as Cadance broke the hug.

"No better place to celebrate!" Cadance grinned widely.

"Agreed!"

"Hear, hear!"

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Radiant Hope stared in shock at Cadance as she held the autopsy report in her hands. "P..." She struggled to get the word out of her mouth as disbelief constricted her throat.

Cadance put a hand to her face as she sniffled, not willing to make eye contact. Her other hand was being held by Luna for emotional support, for all the good it'd do in this situation. She feared she'd lose what little, if any, composure she had at the moment. Her whole world had been turned upside down since her mother passed away a couple of days ago, and being in a hospital was not helping her state of mind, even if she absolutely needed to be there.

"Poisoned..." Hope finally said. "A-Amore was... poisoned?!" Her disbelief gradually became anger as her hands began shaking.

Cadance broke and held onto Luna tightly, wailing into her chest. Luna returned the hug with equal tightness and stroked her friend's hair as a tear of her own fell.

Celestia walked over to Hope and took the autopsy out of her hands, then hugged her. Hope remained still, sniffling for a moment until her tears began to flow, falling on her friend's shirt.

Luna looked at her sister as Hope and Cadance continued their mourning. "There's got to be something we can do for them..."

Celestia scowled. She had heard stories and rumors about Abacus Cinch, but dismissed them as just that until tonight. Justice had to be served to the monster who took an innocent woman's life just for a power grab! "We're gonna take this to the court!"

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"So how far along are you?" Luna's eyes sparkled with excitement.

"Oh, about two months in."

"How are you holding up so far," Cadance asked with a smile.

"I'm doing okay, I just wish I could go twelve hours without nearly emptying my stomach."

"How're the husband and kids taking it?"

Hope put her hand behind her head with a blush. "Well... Verdant Grove and Coral Crush are kinda mixed on it. Verdant's glad he's no longer going to be the youngest and Coral's like 'great, another one'?"

Luna and Cadance laughed. "Yeah, that's something a kid her age might say."

"As for my husband, of course he's happy!" Hope's eyes beamed. "We're probably gonna stop at three, though."

Luna raised an eyebrow. "Probably?"

Cadance grinned. "Three kids not good enough for you?"

Hope opened her mouth, then paused. "Oh, no..." She ran for the bathroom, with Luna following her.

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Cadance held the Jury's verdict in her hands as tears fell down her cheeks.

"I'm so very sorry, Cadance," Celestia said softly as she put a hand on her shoulder. "I wish there was something more I could do..."

Cadance turned around, facing Celestia. Her face was red with fury as she clenched her teeth. "Damn her..." she grabbed a nearby pen and started writing on verdict. Once finished, she grabbed a sheet of paper and began stabbing holes in it with the pen. "Damn her!" She screamed until Luna grabbed her from behind, forcing her to let go of the pen.

"Cadenza!" Luna shouted, gaining her attention. Cadance looked at her, then burst into tears as she held her tightly.

Hope held her head in her hands as she sat. "...It's not fair..." She began sobbing uncontrollably. How many more tears would she and Cadance shed?

Celestia and Luna each consoled Hope and Cadance respectively until they had no more tears to cry.

"Celestia," Cadance said after she blew her nose. "I think you're giving up too easily."

"What do you mean," Celestia asked.

"There's got to be something else."

"What more could I possibly do? I've already put Cinch through court, and anything more would gain the attention of her-"

"You think I don't know that?!" Cadance stood up angrily. "She killed my mom, and I'm not about to let her get away with it!"

Celestia's eyes widened as she understood what Cadance was saying. "I'm sorry, Cadenza, but I don't condone revenge. You know that!"

"You know what?" Cadance shook with fury. "I think you're afraid."

"Afraid?" This was a side of Cadance Celestia had never seen before. Pure, unadulterated rage. She had to calm herself down before someone said the wrong thing. "No. I'm not afraid," she said softly. "I just don't want any unwanted attention."

Cadance walked up to Celestia and looked her straight in the eyes. "You're a goddamn coward!" She spat the last word out, then stormed off, slamming the door behind her.

Hope sighed heavily. "I agree with Cadance," she said to Celestia "But only in that you're not doing enough." She walked up to her, then hugged her. "I don't think you're a coward. I know where you're coming from. Cinch's father is a powerful and intimidating man." She broke the hug and narrowed her eyes in determination. "But I'm not going to let her crime go unpunished, one way or another." Hope began walking towards the door. "I'll try to calm her down."

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Hope and Luna returned from the bathroom. "Feeling better," Cadance asked sympathetically.

Hope snickered. "I guess."

A waitress walked up to the table. "You three ready to order?"

"Not quite, just give us a few minutes," Cadance said as the three looked into their menus.

A few minutes later, the waitress returned. "Are you ready now?"

"Yes." Hope said. "Yes we are."

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Hope returned with Cadance, who walked up to Celestia.

"I'm sorry," Cadance said.

Celestia smiled warmly. "It's okay, I understand. You've been going through a lot lately."

Cadance scoffed. "To say the least."

"Listen. From here on out, I want no part in whatever you and Hope have planned for Cinch. I won't try to stop you two."

"Three."

Celestia blinked in surprise and turned to face Luna. "You too?"

"Yes," Luna said. "I can't stand seeing either of them suffer." She gestured to Hope and Cadance. "I want to do something about it."

Celestia nodded. "I understand." She walked towards Hope and Cadance. "I hope you two don't think that I don't want to remain friends after tonight." She hugged the both of them. "If there's anything I can do for either of you besides this, let me know."

Hope and Cadance returned the hug gratefully. "We understand."

"Good. Now if you'll excuse me, I'll leave you three to your devices." With that, Celestia left Luna, Cadance and Hope to plan.

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Cadance, Luna and Hope left Roma's with smiles on their faces.

"Oh! Before I forget," Hope said as they began to part ways. "Don't tell anyone. I'll make an announcement after the Friendship Games."

Luna and Cadance nodded, then went to their cars.

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Cadance arrived home and sighed. She was happy for Radiant Hope, but at the same time she felt a little lonely. Many of the friends she knew from Crystal Prep were married and had kids of their own. When would it be her turn? She sighed again and shook her head. Now wasn't the time for such thoughts.

Cadance reached her room and changed into her pajamas, then fell asleep instantly.

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